4 days to Camp Rantoul

4 days to Camp Rantoul

Counting down the 50 most important Illini

No. 4: Simon Cvijanovic, offensive tackle

Why he’s important: It’s never a trendy pick to list an offensive linemen this high on a list ranking players. But the key word is important. Cvijanovic will have the important task of making sure defensive ends don’t get a free rush at Nathan Scheelhaase’s backside this fall. A starter for nine games at right tackle last year, the junior is shifted to left tackle for the 2013 season. It’s a position Hugh Thornton held down for the majority of last season before Thorton propeled himself into a third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, mainly because of his versatility. While Cvijanovic won’t ever likely line up at a guard spot, left tackle could become his calling card to the next level. He has the size (6-6, 310) you usually want out of left tackles, just not the experience. At least not yet. Cvijanovic understands the ridicule and scorn offensive linemen usually encounter, and going through a rough 2012 has undoubtedly made him aware of how much the line needs to improve this season. Making sure defenders stay clear of Scheelhaase is Cvijanovic’s No. 1 priority this fall.    

Fast fact: Cvijanovic has added an inch and 15 pounds to his frame since the end of last season, and has added nearly 30 pounds since he arrived on campus for the 2010 season.

Up next: No. 3